From Left to Right: Andrew Francis, Fisher House Charleston; Vicki Johnson, Fisher House Charleston; Franklin Drummond, Lowcountry Transitions at Trident Medical Center; Rob Dupont, Lowcountry Transitions at Trident Medical Center

The recent deaths of designer Kate Spade and author and television host Anthony Bourdain put the spotlight on the tragic occurrence of suicide. It also restarted the national discussion on the alarming number of suicides among our nation’s veterans. According to a report from the Department of Veterans Affairs released on June 17, 2018 approximately 20 veterans take their lives every day.

“Suicide among all age groups is increasing at an alarming rate,” said psychiatrist Franklin Drummond, MD. “Active duty military and veterans are significantly affected and have unique needs and pressures that can be addressed through education, support and medical intervention when indicated.” Dr. Drummond serves as the medical director of Lowcountry Transitions at Trident Medical Center, the hospital’s behavioral health department.

To help continue the conversation about suicide awareness and to make the Lowcountry aware of the resources for the region’s veterans and their families Trident Health and Fisher House Charleston are partnering in a “20 at 12:20” suicide awareness campaign that kicks off at 12:20 p.m. on Wednesday, June 20 at Trident Medical Center.

“We invite individuals, families and businesses to join us wherever they may be at 12:20 p.m. Wednesday, June 20, to participate in an activity that includes the number 20,” explained Vicki Johnson, executive director of Fisher House Charleston. “Activities can include prayer or meditation; or pushups, sit ups, or any other activity.”

Fisher House Charleston provides temporary accommodations to veterans and their families while the veteran is receiving medical attention at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, Charleston, SC. Fisher House Charleston welcomed its first guests in January 2018. The 16-bedroom/15,000 square foot facility is a home-away-from-home located in Charleston’s historic district. As part of the “20 at 12:20” campaign, Trident Health will make a $2,500 contribution to Fisher House Charleston.

In addition to her leadership role Johnson is also an Air Force veteran. She’s witnessed the behavioral and mental health challenges of veterans. “We are very thankful for Trident Medical Center and their support of our region’s veterans. By working together was can do so much more for the veterans and their families who can benefit from Fisher House Charleston.”

Trident Medical Center plans to expand it behavioral health program. It has submitted a Certificate of Need with South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control to build a freestanding 60-bed behavioral health facility. The hospital’s current program includes a 17-inpatient beds and outpatient services.